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Obamas’ Higher Ground to Produce ‘Ada Twist, Scientist’ Animated Series for Netflix (Video)

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Ada Twist., Scientist (Netflix)

*Animated preschool series “Ada Twist, Scientist,” based on the book series from author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts, is coming to Netflix courtesy of series creator Chris Nee (“Doc McStuffins”)and Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company.

The show centers on eight-year-old Ada Twist, a “young Black scientist who will explore helping people through scientific discovery, collaboration and friendship,” and solve mysteries with the help of her two best friends, Rosie Revere and Iggy Peck.

Kerri Grant will serve as showrunner, co-executive producer and story editor for the 40 12-minute episodes. Wonder Worldwide is a producing partner for the series.

Higher Ground executive producers Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis commented: “The Higher Ground team was inspired to produce Ada Twist, Scientist by President Obama and Mrs. Obama’s enduring commitment to young people, their education, and knowing no bounds or limits to dreams for their future. Chris and Kerri’s show will ignite kids’ imaginations. This is exactly the type of show Higher Ground was founded to create – powerful, meaningful storytelling for the whole family.”

Netflix will debut the kids program worldwide starting in 2021.

View a reading of the book below

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** FEATURED STORY **

Ross Williams: ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape from Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America

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Ross Williams

Ross Williams

*Ross Williams made it out, and then he wrote a book about it.

Growing up in New Orleans’ 7th Ward can be rife with challenges. The horror stories far exceed the successful ones. Ross’s journey is an exception, and an exceptional one.

Surrounded by a solid family with community values, Williams attended Tulane University where he studied sociology. He has gone on to become the author of two best-sellers within an eight-month span.

MORE NEWS: R. Kelly Jail Beating Went Down While No Guard ‘Raised A Finger’ Says Legal Team

 

“Made It Out” is testimony not only to his journey, but also to the similarities of surviving the streets and corporate America. His follow-up book, “Crabs In A Barrel: War On Racism,” gives a different perspective on the phrase that focuses more on the barrel than on the crab.

Author is just one of Williams’ many hats. He is also CEO of Williams Commerce Writing Services, which aims to empower job seekers, authors and entrepreneurs.

Photo courtesy of Ross Williams

Zenger News invited Williams for a Q&A session to learn more about his break-out book and journey of discovery.

Percy Crawford interviewed Ross Williams for Zenger News.


Percy Crawford interviewed Ross Williams for Zenger News (Photo courtesy of Percy Crawford)

Zenger: How did you break the cycle, so to speak, and make it out of the 7th Ward in New Orleans?

Williams: Really learned as much as possible. So, really learning what cursed prior generations and trying to avoid those same things. A lot of that came from learning from my parents who were born in the 1940s, so a lot of my family members are older. So, I have a lot of old-school values. I had the chance to learn about life before my era… I was able to accumulate all of that and just learn from every lesson or loss that I had in life and just never settled.

Zenger: What was it like growing up there and seeing some of the things you experienced?

Williams: I had a sense of pride about my community. My mother’s side of the family has been part of the St. Bernard, 7th Ward community since it was established back in the 1930s and 40s. A lot of people talk about the downfall of the neighborhood. Of course, I discuss that in my first book, “Made It Out,” some of the things I experienced. But one of the big things my neighborhood helped with was just building a confidence about myself and my abilities. At first it was basketball and then it became a swag with everything I do. I believe that I can be the best at whatever I put my mind to.

Zenger: What made you decide to even write a book?

Williams: Really to help other people to make it out of situations that they encountered. At first when I was writing my book, it was kind of like making it out of the inner city. I felt my lessons were applicable to any environment that you can grow up in. Like I said, learning from mistakes, gravitating towards positive energy, and learning from your losses. I really just wanted to give people the blueprint because halfway through the book it became about making it out of corporate America and becoming an entrepreneur. As of right now, even just picking up from there, I’m trying to show the world that I’ve made it out since then. Since the book, I’m still making it out.

Zenger: You actually make parallels in the book about the similarities of making it out of the street life and making it through corporate America. As crazy as it sounds, there’s not very much separation, is there?

Williams: I think in society with social engineering, a lot of us feel that if we are a different race or different religion, society has taught us that the next person is very different from us. And we can’t see eye-to-eye just because we come from different worlds or experiences. Gangstas and crooked people growing up in inner cities are no different than white collar gangstas. White collar gangstas are actually more cutthroat because at least in the neighborhood you know who to look out for. In corporate America, a lot of people have ulterior motives, but they project friendly energy. It’s not really necessary. It’s not these people need me to get by like in the neighborhood. It’s just out of malice. That’s why I feel like it’s grimier in corporate America because of how it’s presented to you.

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Zenger: It can be difficult to navigate that.

Williams: Right. And something that my neighborhood taught me, once I started communicating with people in higher level CEO positions or people that made in the upper six figures or north of that, just the intellect and growing the confidence once I interacted with these people, it’s like, “Oh, I can sit in these positions too.” A lot of times we are made to look at certain people as if they are superior to us, especially when we’re coming from inner cities. But we have the same abilities as those people. A lot of those people had easier routes to get there. That’s one thing of just gaining confidence along each step of your journey.

Zenger: Did you anticipate becoming a best-selling author and your books having the kind of impact that they have had?

Williams: Humbly speaking, my mom always told me, “Don’t step at all if you are going to half step.” So, I know the tears, the blood and sweat that I put into each project, or even a client’s book. I put that same energy towards everything. I’m very strategic and I move with a sense of urgency. I visualized the successes that I have had in my career so many times over and over, that all of the excitement is poured into the process each day. So, when it happens, I’m kind of militant about it, so I’m really not surprised. I really put my all into each thing and utilize my natural skillset. I haven’t been surprised so far.

(Edited by André Johnson and Judy Isacoff)



The post ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape From Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America appeared first on Zenger News.

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Mariah Carey Opens Up About Racism During Childhood and More in New Memoir

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Mariah Carey - The Meaning of Mariah Carey

*Five-time Grammy singer and recording artist Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling female solo recording artists of all-time, with a portfolio full of memorable hit songs since bursting onto the music scene in the late 1980s.

Yet, she also has vivid memories of the racism she endured growing up a bi-racial child in the 1970s and early ‘80s in Huntington, New York, about 32 miles from New York City.  Carey is one of three children born to a white mother and an African American and Venezuelan father.

In her new book, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” the 50-year-old writes about several incidents that opened her young eyes to bigotry and racism.  One incident that stands out in her mind was when she was a young girl and one of her grade school friends came over to the house for a visit.

“The parents didn’t know I was Black.  They didn’t know that she (their daughter) was going to go into a Black man’s house,” Carey writes.  “They’d only met my mother.  The girl burst into tears because she was so freaked out.  Mind you, my father is this gorgeous, tall man that looked like a movie star to me and then to see that happen.  It just changes your perspective on things, and it twists it.  It was just heartbreaking.”

MORE NEWS: WATCH: Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Launches Black Political Party: ‘Our Black Party’

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Carey writes about another incident in school that involved a teacher that didn’t know that the future singing star had a Black father and white mother.  When students were assigned to draw their parents, the teacher corrected Carey after seeing what the youngster had drawn and colored.

“I was basically traumatized by the teacher who thought I had used the wrong crayon because I had drawn my father with a brown crayon,” recalled Carey.  “These are the kinds of experiences that stay with someone at such a young age, even if there isn’t malicious intent on the part of a teacher, or even perhaps a close friend who was unaware that my father was Black.”

Carey is happy that her book has been released in this present climate of racial discord and the heighten national debate about racism.  The book, which Carey said took three years to write, is an important tool to talk about racial attitudes between white and Black people.  She shared, however, since the release of the book, her nine-year-old son Moroccan has been bullied by a white supremacist he thought was a friend.

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Mariah Carey – Getty

Carey said her book is more than reflections of the racism she endured as a child, as she also writes about her 2001 hospitalization due to mental health issues because of exhaustion and other factors; her strained relationship with her mother; dating baseball star Derek Jeter, who was also biracial; her ex-husband, Tommy Mottola’s role in trying to sink the success of “Glitter,” which she starred in 2001; throwing shades on J.Lo; and much more.

During a recent interview on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” Carey said that there’s a   possibility that the book may someday come to life as a film or mini-series with Lee Daniels’ involvement.  “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” the songstress told Cohen, “is written in a very ‘visual way.’ ”

 

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Journalist Recalls Prince Visiting Him to ‘Gobble’ Pain Pills ‘Like They Were M&Ms’

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Prince

*The late-great Prince is said to have had a pill addiction so bad that he once gobbled up a friend’s stash of prescribed opioids.

According to Page Six, in “This Thing Called Life,” author Neal Karlen recounts an injury he suffered in 1997 while Rollerblading and the conversation he had with Prince about the “unlimited” supply of Percocet pills he was prescribed for the pain from breaking several bones in his leg.

Karlen said Prince wanted to come over immediately, which “was not in character.

“He’d been to my apartment but not for a few years, and for him to schlep so far to pay a little sympathy call felt … meaningful,” Karlen recalls. 

Turns out Prince just wanted some painkillers, according to Karlen.

READ MORE: Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff Give Fans Tour of ‘Fresh Prince’ Mansion [VIDEO]

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“I didn’t even have time to offer him a glass of water before he spied the white Walgreen’s bottle of pills in my living room,” he writes.

“Prince gobbled a third of the bottle like they were M&Ms, and my heart sank. It was f—king true. I’d heard rumors for years that he’d been off and on heavy painkillers ever since the ‘Purple Rain’ tour a dozen years before,” he continued.

Prince reportedly carried on a conversation with the Minneapolis writer from 1985 until two weeks before his death.

On April 20, 2016, Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl at age 57.

Elsewhere in the book, Karlen writes:

He would really begin to learn, or care, about other people and their needs starting around age 40. He gave away instruments and computers. He funded libraries and school lunches. He gave a million dollars a year to the Minneapolis Urban League. And he didn’t care that his philanthropic efforts, even though they dwarfed most celebrities’, were kept as quiet as if they were his most lethal secrets.

But eventually he tried. He hugged long-lost friends. He talked nostalgically once in a while. And it saved his life, long before an overdose of fentanyl took it. …

This Thing Called Life” is in bookstores now.

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